Multi-National Force, Beirut, 1982 to 1984, Timeline

LEBANON POLITICAL

Lebanese Civil War Begins

Civil war broke out between the Maronite forces representing the established order on one side, and the militias of the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) (including the Shi’i militias), led by Ibrahim Qulaylat, on the other side. The PLO would eventually join the fighting on the side of the LNM and the Lebanese Army would join the side of the Maronites. Ultimately Syria would join the Maronites ensuring their victory

1975

LEBANON POLITICAL

Gunmen attempt to assassinate Maronite Christian Phalangist leader Pierre Gemayel as he is leaving church that Sunday. In retaliation, Phalangist gunmen ambush a busload of Palestinians, most of them civilians, killing 27 passengers. Week-long clashes between Palestinian-Muslim forces and Phalangists follow, marking the beginning of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.

13 April 1975

LEBANON POLITICAL

The Battle of the Hotels lasted several months. These street battles started in Beirut defining demarcation lines that, divided the city into East and West sides.

“Green Line”

A “Green Line” frontline divides Beirut into Christian East and Muslim West.

“Green Line”

24 October 1975

LEBANON POLITICAL

In an event later described as Black Saturday, four Christians are found shot dead in east Beirut. Bachir Gemayel, the leader of the Phalange militia, orders reprisals. Around 40 Muslim men are stopped at Christian roadblocks and murdered. Muslim militias retaliate in a similar fashion. By the end of the day, about 300 Muslims and 300 Christians have been murdered.

6 December 1975

LEBANON POLITICAL

Civil war intensifies. Christians kill Palestinian civilians at Karantina and Tel el-Zaatar, while Palestinians kill Christians at Damour.

1976/7

LEBANON POLITICAL

Sieges of Tal al-Zaatar Palestinian camp in East Beirut by the Lebanese Front.

5 January 1976

LEBANON POLITICAL

Karantina Massacre: Right-wing Christian forces like the Guardians of the Cedars, the Phalangist and the Tigers Militia took control of the Karantina district. Hundred of Palestinians were killed and the inhabitants fled before the shantytown was burned and bulldozed.

18 January 1976

LEBANON POLITICAL

Damour MassacrePalestinian guerrillas and the National Movement attacked and destroyed the Christian-populated town of Damour south of Beirut. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands were displaced.

20 January 1976

SYRIAN INTERVENTION

Suleiman Franjieh, Lebanon’s President, invites Syria to intervene in the war. As the Muslim-left alliance in Lebanon gains an upper hand in the fighting, Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s president, orders troops into Lebanon. Some 30,000 Syrian troops enter Lebanon, ostensibly to restore peace. Syria’s intervention stops vast military gains against Christians by Palestinian-Muslim forces. The invasion is, in fact, Syria’s attempt to claim Lebanon, which it never recognized when Lebanon won independence from France in 1943. Syrian troops occupy all but the far south of the country.

Syrian Troops enter Lebanon, 1976

1 June 1976

LEBANON/ USA POLITICAL

US Ambassador to Lebanon, Francis Edward Meloy, Jr., the U.S. economic counselor Robert O. Waring and their driver Zuhair Mohammed Moghrabi were kidnapped by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine while on their way to meet the new President of Lebanon, Elias Sarkis. Their bodies were found later that day – June 16, 1976 – in west Beirut.

Francis Edward Meloy, Jr.

Francis Edward Meloy, Jr., was born in Washington, D.C. in 1917. He served with the U.S. Navy in WWII and as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Lebanon.

Robert Olaf Waring

Robert Olaf Waring was born in Long Island City, New York, in 1919. He served in Rabat, Athens, London, Berlin, Vienna and Beirut as U.S. economic counselor.

16 June 1976

LEBANON POLITICAL

Tal-al-Zaatar camp siege ended and the camp fell into the hands of Christian militias. Thousands of Palestinians died in the siege and its aftermath

Tal-al-Zaatar camp siege, 1976

12 August 1976

LEBANON POLITICAL

A ceasefire is agreed upon following Arab summit meetings. Egyptian, Saudi, and other Arab troops in small numbers join the Syrian force as a result of a peace summit brokered in Cairo. The so-called Arab Deterrent Force would be short-lived.

Arab Deterrent Force 1976

21 October 1976

LEBANON POLITICAL

The assassination of Kamal Jomblatt, leader of the National Movement.

Kamal Jomblatt

16 March 1977

LEBANON POLITICAL

Massacres against Christian civilians in the Chouf villages of Barouk, Botmeh, Kfarnabrakh, Mazraat el-Chouf, Maasser el-Chouf, Machghara and Brih, in reaction to the assassination of Joumblatt.

17-19 March 1977

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

Coastal Road Massacre

Palestinian commandos attack an Israeli kibbutz between Haifa and Tel Aviv, then hijack a bus. Israeli forces respond. By the time the battle was over, 37 Israelis and nine Palestinians were killed.

11 March 1978

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

Some 25,000 Israeli soldiers crossed the Lebanese border in Operation Litani, named for the Litani River that crosses South Lebanon, 20 miles from the Israeli border. The invasion is designed to wipe out the Palestine Liberation Organization’s structure in South Lebanon. The operation fails.

Operation Litani

14/15 March 1978

UN INTERVENTION

United Nations Security Council resolution 425 is passed. It calls on Israel to withdraw from all Lebanese territory and establishes the 4,000-strong United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to oversee the withdrawal. UNIFIL is also charged with the responsibility of restoring peace and Lebanese government authority over south Lebanon.

According to Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978, UNIFIL was established to: 

Confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon.

Restore international peace and security.

Assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.

From its deployment to date over 345 members of UNIFIL have been killed

19 March 1978

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

Israel withdraws from occupied territory, handing over authority to the breakaway Lebanese Army force of Maj. Saad Haddad, which expands its operations in South Lebanon and operates as an Israeli ally.

13 June 1978

SYRIAN INTERVENTION

Syria turns its guns on Lebanon’s Christians, pounding Christian areas of Lebanon in the worst fighting in two years.

1 July 1978

US INTERVENTION

U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokers the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, the first Arab-Israeli peace. Palestinians in Lebanon vow to escalate their attacks on Israel.

September 1978

LEBANON POLITICAL

The civil war continues with fighting between Israel, Israel-backed fighters and the PLO in South Lebanon.

1980-1

LEBANON / FRANCE POLITICAL

The French ambassador in Beirut, Louis Delamare, is shot dead in his car in the Lebanese capital. Syria is suspected of involvement, over France’s diplomatic role in the Lebanon civil war.

4 September 1981

LEBANON POLITICAL

A booby-trapped car rammed through a barrier wall protecting the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut’s Ramlet al-Baida. The six-story building was totally destroyed, and 61 people were killed. Among the victims was the Iraqi ambassador to Beirut, Abdul Razzak Lafta.

Iraqi Embassy Bomb 1981

15 December 1981

1982

MNF 1 Deploys in August

MNF 2 Deploys in September

In the seven years of a many-sided civil war, approximately 50,000 Lebanese and Palestinians have been killed and twice that many injured

1982

LEBANON / USA/ FRANCE POLITICAL

Assassination in France of the United States Assistant Army Attaché, Colonel Charles R. Ray, carried out by the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction.

18 January 1982

LEBANON / ISRAELI / FRANCE POLITICAL

The assassination of an Israeli embassy advisor, Yaacov Barsimentov, in Paris, was carried out by the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction.

3 April 1982

LEBANON / FRANCE POLITICAL

A military specialist and his wife, stationed at the French Embassy in Beirut, are assassinated by Al-Jihad al-Islami

Marie Caroline and Guy Joseph Eugène CAVALLO

19 April 1982

A French Colonel, attached to UNTSO, is assaulted by 4 members of an unknown group in Beirut. He dies of his wounds on 11 May 1982.

Colonel Gérard Henri Louis DOGNIAUX

26 April 1982

LEBANON / FRANCE POLITICAL

Al-Jihad al-Islami – believed to be a pseudonym for Hezbollah – bombs the French embassy in Beirut, killing 12 and wounding 27. The attack occurred two weeks prior to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the date commonly believed to coincide with Hezbollah’s founding.

Parachutist Daniel RICHARD (20 years old)
35e Régiment d’Artillerie Parachutiste

Killed, at his post in front of the French Embassy in Beirut during the attack.

25 May 1982

LEBANON / ISREAL POLITICAL

Three members of the Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO) attempt to assassinate the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov, as he got into his car after a banquet at the Dorchester Hotel, in Park Lane, London. He was critically injured.

3 June 1982

UN INTERVENTION

UN Security Council Resolution 508

Demands an end to hostilities in the 1982 Lebanon War

5 June 1982

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

Israeli army (IDF) launches Operation Peace for Galilee invasion in response to the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to London. Gen. Ariel Sharon leads the attack. The two-month drive leads the IDF to the southern suburbs of Beirut. The Red Cross estimates the invasion costs the lives of some 18,000 people, mostly civilian Lebanese. Over the following weeks’ Israeli troops attack Syrian forces in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley, and surround Muslim west Beirut. Israel demands that PLO fighters and Syrians leave Beirut.

6 June 1982

US INTERVENTION

The embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was the subject of a rocket and machine gun attack which caused minimal damage. A Marine was wounded by shrapnel but continued in a full-duty status.

7 June 1982

US INTERVENTION

Initial evacuation of the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, began with the Marine Security Guard Detachment providing security.

32 Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) deployed to waters off Lebanon and conducted the successful evacuation of U.S. citizens from the port city of Juniyah

23 June 1982

US INTERVENTION

The American Embassy in Beirut was secured and then abandoned due to severe fighting in the area. The remaining personnel were relocated to the ambassador’s residence in the nearby city of Yarze. Nine Marines of the Marine Security Guard Detachment provided security.

24 June 1982

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

Israeli warplanes began bombarding a number of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) targets, mostly in Beirut and in the south of the country. This was in response to Palestinian rocket attacks on northern Israel.

17 July 1982

LEBANON POLITICAL

David Dodge, president of the American University in Beirut, was kidnapped in Beirut. He was eventually released from Iranian / Syrian captivity on 21 July 1983.

19 July 1982

UN INTERVENTION

United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) deploys to Naqoura and Beirut under the UN Mandate:

On 29 May 1948, the Security Council, in resolution 50 (1948), called for a cessation of hostilities in Palestine and decided that the truce should be supervised by the UN Mediator, with the assistance of a group of military observers. The first group of military observers, which became known as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), was the first peacekeeping mission established by the United Nations. UNTSO Military Observers remain in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region.

1 August 1982

MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE 1

800 US Marines of the 32 Marine Amphibious Unit, commanded by Colonel James M. Mead, land in Beirut,

DIODON 1: 570 French of the 11 Airborne Division commanded by BGen Jacques Granger arrive in Beirut,

LIBANO 1: 1,217 Italian soldiers of the 2nd Bersaglieri (Mechanized) Battalion “Governolo” commanded by LtCol Bruno Tosetti arrive in Beirut,

as part of a multinational peacekeeping force to oversee the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) guerrillas.

25 August 1982

In the 6 June to 25 August period of fighting following the Israeli invasion, it is estimated that 17,825 people are killed and 30,103 wounded in Lebanon.

25 August 1982

UNIFIL

A Senegalese soldier attached to UNIFIL is killed.

PLO EVACUATION

After intense mediation led by the United States, Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which had run a state-within-a-state in West Beirut and South Lebanon, evacuate Lebanon. The Palestinians and Syrians left Beirut within eighteen days. Arafat and 8144 PLO fighters were evacuated from the port (under American and French guidance) and the Italians protected the overland withdrawal of 6254 Palestinian and Syrian forces.

30 August 1982

UNIFIL

The French deputy officer of logistics at UNIFIL’s 420th Logistics Support is killed by sniper fire while on an observation mission in a building between Palestinian lines and Christian lines

3 September 1982

UNIFIL

2 soldiers of the Ghanaian Army, attached to UNIFIL are killed.

MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE 1

Evacuation of PLO complete, 32 MAU USMC, French and Italian contingents of the Multi-National Force (MNF) leave Beirut.

Multi-National Force (MNF) leave Beirut

10 September 1982

LEBANON POLITICAL

Bachir Gemayel, leader of the Christian Phalange militia and Lebanon’s President-elect, is assassinated.

14 September 1982

French MNF

A convoy of the 17th RGP (parachute engineering regiment) on its way to the port was caught, on the avenue Béchara El Khoury, between the firefight between two Islamo-progressive militias: the Knights of the Revolution (Ansar El-Saoura) and militiamen from the National Social Party or Interior Security Force who continue to control West Beirut after the evacuation of PLO forces (end of August). The Lebanese army intervenes between the two parties. This incident resulted in three injured paratroopers.

A truck loaded with two tons of explosives was hit as the sappers rushed to the Résidence des pins via Mohamed el Hout Street.

12 September 1982

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

Israeli troops invade West Beirut, the first time an Israeli force enters an Arab capital.

15 September 1982

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

In reprisal for the assassination of Gemayel, under the supervision of Israeli forces, Christian militiamen are bused into the two Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, ostensibly to “mop up” remaining Palestinian fighters.

Around1,200 refugees were killed during the Sabra and Shatila massacre

16 -18 September 1982

UN INTERVENTION

UN Security Council Resolution 521

Condemning the massacre of Palestinians in Beirut, Lebanon, by the Lebanese Forces militia group, the Council reaffirmed resolutions 512 (1982) and 513 (1982) which called for respect for the rights of the civilian population without any discrimination and repudiates all acts of violence against that population.

19 September 1982

US INTERVENTION

President Ronald Reagan announced that U.S. forces will again join French and Italian troops in Beirut to enable the government of Lebanon to resume control of the city. President Reagan’s decision was spurred by the massacre of hundreds of Muslim Palestinians, reportedly by Lebanese Christian militiamen, in two Beirut refugee camps.

20 September 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

Bashir Gemayel’s elder brother, Amine Gemayel, is elected president.

UK POLITICAL

UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (PM) states that on no account will British Forces become involved in the MNF (PREM19-1074)

21 September 1982

Italian MNF

BGen Angioni was reconnoitering positions for the Italian sector when he saw a brawl between Phalange members and Palestinians. His jeep ‘came to a screeching halt and he jumped to the roadway, pistol in hand, and ordered the area cleared. The news of Angioni’s rescue of the Palestinians electrified the camps and assured the Italians a safe and pleasant stay in what might have been Beirut’s most troublesome hot spot.

22 September 1982

LEBANON POLITICAL

A US-French-Italian Multi-National Force is requested by Lebanon pursuant to the MNF mandate which reads as follows:

The MNF (multinational force) is to provide an interposition force at agreed locations and thereby provide the MNF presence requested by the Government of Lebanon to assist it and Lebanon’s armed forces in the Beirut area. This presence will facilitate the restoration of Lebanese Government sovereignty and authority over the Beirut area and thereby further its efforts to assure the safety of persons in the area and to bring to an end the violence which has tragically recurred

24 September 1982

US MNF

Preparation for the redeployment of 32 MAU to Beirut got underway. Their Mission Statement was:

“To establish an environment which will permit the Lebanese Armed Forces to carry out their responsibilities in the Beirut area. When directed, USCINCEUR will introduce
U.S. forces as part of a multinational force presence in the Beirut area to occupy and secure positions along a designated section of the line from south of the Beirut
International Airport to a position in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace; be prepared to protect U.S. forces; and, on order, conduct retrograde operations as required.”

26 September 1982

UNTSO

A team of 4 unarmed Military Observers from UNTSO, based in the South Lebanon town of Naqoura are killed while traveling east of the Lebanese capital, their Land Rover drove over a landmine and all four men died instantly.

27 September 1982

MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE 2

32 MAU return to Beirut and take up positions around Beirut International Airport (BIA), south of Beirut, commanded by Colonel James M. Mead

DIODON 2: 1,560 troops of the 9th Marine Infantry Division under the command of BGen Michel Datin take up positions in the north of Beirut,

LIBANO 2: around 1,200 Italian troops of the “Folgore” Airborne Brigade and the San Marco Battalion under the command of BGen Franco Angioni take up central positions around the refugee camps in Beirut.

29 September 1982

US MNF

Marines suffer their first casualties (one killed, three wounded) while clearing unexploded ordnance from the vicinity of Beirut International Airport (BIA).

30 September 1982

Italian MNF

An important factor to win over the local population was the field hospital.
Initially, it was only designated for Italian soldiers while two ambulances were placed near Chatila and Bourj al-Barajneh to aid the populace. But starting in October 1982, the Italians treated 16,746 adults and 46,321 children until the end of the mission, which notably improved the health standards and the Italian prestige.

Italians parà of the 1° Carabinieri Paratroopers Regiment “Tuscania” patrolling the streets near the Palestinians refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon, 1982. Photo by Chris Steele Perkins.

October 1982

UNIFIL

A French Sapper of 17e RGP, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

9 October 1982

US MNF

Three thousand precooked and frozen hamburgers, complete with bun, ketchup, salt and pickle, were shipped to U.S. Marines serving in Beirut as part of several American companies’ reaction to headlines that Marines were not eating as well as their French and Italian counterparts.

15 October 1982

UNIFIL

Private Michael McAleavey was manning a UN observation post at Tibnine Bridge in South Lebanon. With him were fellow Privates Peter Burke and Thomas Murphy, along with Corporal Gary Morrow.

Having initially said that pro-Israeli militia had been responsible for the deaths of his three colleagues, McAleavey was later found to have killed the three of them in cold blood.

https://iunva.ie/deaths-overseas-tibnine-bridge-murders-27-10-1982-lebanon/

27 October 1982

US MNF

32 MAU is relieved by 24 MAU, commanded by Colonel Thomas M. Stokes, Jr.

30 October 1982

US MNF

24 MAU extends its presence in Beirut to the eastern (Christian) sector, patrolling the “Green Line” that divides the city into sectarian parts.

4 November 1982

LEBANON POLITICAL

A Peugeot car packed with explosives struck the seven-story building being used by the Israeli military to govern Tyre. The explosion leveled the building and killed 75 Israeli soldiers, border policemen, and Shin Bet agents. In addition, anywhere from 14–27 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners that were being held by Israel were killed. Twenty-seven Israelis and 28 Arabs were injured. Hezbollah claimed responsibility.

11 November 1982

UK POLITICAL

The Lebanese Government makes a formal request for British involvement in the MNF (PREM19-1074)

12 November 1982

UK POLITICAL

UK PM again states that British Forces should not become involved in the MNF (PREM19-1074)

26 November 1982

US MNF

24 MAU artillery moves ashore (A battery of six 155mm howitzers).

3 December 1982

UK POLITICAL

Lebanese Foreign Minister visits the UK PM (PREM19-1074)

10 December 1982

US MNF

24 MAU armour moves ashore (A platoon of five M60A7 tanks).

11 December 1982

US MNF / LAF

Marines commence training the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

13 December 1982

UK POLITICAL

UK PM agrees to send a Reconnaissance Squadron of 80 men taken from the UNFICYP Squadron to join the MNF in Beirut. The deployment is to be no more than 3 months. The Mission is to be funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) (PREM19-1074)

15 December 1982

UK POLITICAL

UK Foreign Secretary (FS) announced in the House of Commons that troops from the UNFICYP Scout Car Sqn would be deployed to Beirut in February 1983. (PREM19-1074)

21 December 1982

UK MNF

C Sqn. 1st. The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG), commanded by Maj Simon Stewart, are notified that they would be the Recce Squadron equipped with Ferret Armoured Cars. (DEFE 70/3273)

24 December 1982

US MNF

A US Sailor dies in an accident onboard USS Inchon

25 December 1982

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Ghanaian Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

31 December 1982

1983

Full deployment of MNF throughout the year

British Forces join the MNF in February

1983

UK MNF

Royal Military Police (RMP), Close Protection Detachment of 8 soldiers is deployed to the British Embassy, Beirut

2 January 1983

UK MNF

Operation Hyperion codeword is given for the deployment of the UK contingent (Small HQ Element and Recce Sqn) to the MNF in Beirut. To be known as BRITFORLEB (DEFE 70/3273)

3 January 1983

UK MNF

UK MOD recce party visits Cyprus and Beirut. (DEFE 70/3273)

4 -11 January 1983

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Finnish Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

7 January 1983

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Ghanaian Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

11 January 1983

US MNF / IDF

An emergency communication network is established between American and Israeli forces as tensions mount between adjacent ground units.

29 January 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

In order to improve coordination, a liaison mission including all MNF contingents, the Lebanese Army and the Israelis is established. The biweekly meetings were held under President Amine Gemayel’s chairmanship.

UK MNF

Operation Offcut, Royal Navy support to BRITFORLEB commences

February 1983

US MNF / IDF

USMC confronts three Israeli tanks as they attempt to pass through a checkpoint.

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB advance party (22 men) deploys to Beirut under the command of Lt Col Cochrane R IRISH, they take over a dilapidated office block in Reggie Hadath adjacent to a tobacco factor and about 3km east of BIA, this becomes the operating base for BRITFORLEB.

2 February 1983

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB based on C Sqn QDG (from UNFICYP) is now complete in Beirut (98 all ranks). They arrived at Beirut Port on board MV Sol Phyrne, this vessel had been used in August 1982 to evacuate the PLO.

8 February 1983

Italian MNF

British agree to host a maximum of six Italian F-104S Starfighters, in support of ItalCon, at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus (PREM 19-1075)

11 February 1983

US MNF

32 MAU, redesignated the 22 MAU and still commanded by Colonel Mead, return to Lebanon to relieve the 24 MAU.

15 February 1983

French MNF

French Contingent suffers their first fatality.

20 February 1983

US MNF

Marines commence four days of relief operations in the town of Quartaba during Lebanon’s worst blizzard in memory. With Syrian acquiescence, Marine helicopters flew into Syrian-held territory in Lebanon’s central mountains to rescue victims of frostbite and exposure.

21 February 1983

US MNF

Five Marines were wounded in action in the first direct attack on American peacekeeping troops. An Islamic fundamentalist group claims responsibility.

Italian MNF

An Italian patrol of the ‘San Marco’ Battalion came under attack. Two vehicles were driving from the airport to the central sector when a RPG fired from a Shiite mosque construction site hit the second car. Four soldiers were wounded; two of which seriously. The marines of the ‘San Marco’ immediately returned fire and BGen Angioni (ItalCon Force Commander) launched a mission to find the attackers. He wanted to demonstrate the Italian ability – even at night – to react to such a hostile act, without retaliating with indiscriminate violence.

15 March 1983

Italian MNF

As a result of the action on 15 March and despite the quick arrival of reinforcements and ambulances, a nineteen-year-old conscript, Filippo Montesi died days later in a Roman hospital. He was the only Italian killed in action (KIA) in Beirut and was the first soldier of the Italian army to die in combat since the Second World War.

22 March 1983

LEBANANON POLITICAL

Lebanese officially ask the UK to retain BRITFORLEB until a withdrawal agreement is in place with Israelis, the tour is extended by 3 months and the expected withdrawal date is now 7 August. (PREM19-1074)

25 March 1983

US Embassy and MNF

A suicide bomber detonates an explosives-laden lorry at the US Embassy on Beirut’s seafront. Sixty-three people are killed and more than 100 are hurt. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility.

32 Lebanese, 17 Americans and 14 visitors and passers-by are killed

Of which 5 were US Armed Forces, 8 were CIA and 3 were USAID

US Embassy Bombing, 18 April 1982

18 April 1983

UK POLITICAL

The UK Embassy in Beirut provides a new home to the US Embassy after the bombing. A USMC Company is assigned to protect both Embassies. (PREM19-1074)

20 April 1983

UK MNF

Work begins on strengthening the defenses of the BRITFORLEB base in Hadath including an anti-RPG screen around the building, work is completed by 12 May. (WO305/6193)

28 April 1983

UK MNF

Commanding Officer, QDG officially notified that he would be providing the Sqn. to replace C Sqn in August 1983 on a further 6-month tour to February 1984. A Squadron, commanded by Maj Mike Boissard, are notified that they will be deploying. (DEFE 70/3273)

29 April 1983

French MNF

DIODON 3, roulement of French troops now under the command of BGen Jean-Claude Coulon with troops from 31st Brigade

May 1983

UK MNF

3 shells landed near a BRITFORLEB armoured car patrol, with no casualties (WO305/6194)

3 May 1983

US MNF

A marine helicopter with six aboard, including Colonel Mead, is hit by ground fire as it investigates artillery duels between Druze and Christian gunners.

5 May 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

Israel and Lebanon sign a U.S.-brokered peace agreement in Naquora, that calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops contingent on the withdrawal of Syrian troops from northern and eastern Lebanon. Syria opposes the agreement, which was never ratified by the Lebanese parliament and was canceled in 1984.

17 May 1983

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Fijian Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

27 May 1983

US MNF

24 MAU, commanded by Colonel Timothy J. Geraghty, relieves the 22 MAU.

30 May 1983

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Royal Netherlands Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

6 June 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

The Lebanese Government requests MNF deployment beyond greater Beirut in the event of a full IDF withdrawal.

14 June 1983

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Ghanaian Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

17 June 1983

US MNF

A US Marine dies as a result of illness

21 June 1983

French MNF

A French Soldier is killed.

22 June 1983

UK MNF

A single Scimitar CVR(T) is deployed to Beirut on a trial and also as a sales opportunity vis the Lebanese Army. It is returned to Cyprus on 26 July. It was concluded that it was not suitable for this type of peacekeeping mission due to its aggressive profile. (DEFE 70/3273)

24 June 1983

US MNF / LAF

Marines conduct their first combined patrols with Lebanese Army troops.

25 June 1983

US MNF

A US Marine dies in a training accident

26 June 1983

US MNF

US Secretary of State, George Shultz, visits 24 MAU in Beirut. A former Marine major who served in the Pacific during World War II, Secretary Shultz was en route to Damascus, Syria, to discuss the withdrawal of Syrian and Israeli forces from Lebanon.

5 July 1984

French MNF

A bomb-damaged building collapses on nine French peacekeeping soldiers and four Lebanese workers. 6 French are killed and 3 wounded.

6 July 1983

US MNF

Two Marines and one sailor are wounded in action by shell fragments during the shelling of Beirut International Airport(BIA), part of a general pattern of increasing indirect fire against the Lebanese Army, the airport, and the multinational force.

22 July 1983

UK MNF

A Squadron, QDG replace C Sqn, QDG as BRITFORLEB. The new Force Commander is Lt Col Roberts, PARA. The tour is due to end on 8 February 1984. (WO305/5345)

8 August 1983

US MNF

About 27 artillery and mortar rounds are fired by Druze militia from the high ground east of Beirut into Beirut International Airport, resulting in one Marine wounded in action.

LEBANON POLITICAL

Rockets hit the Defense Ministry and the Presidential Palace. Three Cabinet ministers are kidnapped by the Druze.

10 August 1983

Italian MNF

An Italian convoy with fifty soldiers came under attack.

12 August 1983

UNIFIL

A Major of the Royal Netherlands Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

13 August 1983

French MNF

A French Legionnaire is killed in action when a water supply convoy is fired upon.

14 August 1983

Italian MNF

Italcon Force Commander narrowly escapes death when a 122mm rocket landed 10m from his vehicle. Minor injuries only. (AIR 23/8772)

UK MNF

USMC set up an ANGLICO (Air Naval Gunfire Liason Company) team at the BRITFORLEB base. (WO305/5345)

22 August 1983

French MNF

An ammunition accident at a French barracks results in 2 killed (one died of his wounds in France on 26 Sep) and 7 wounded

25 August 1983

US MNF

A combat outpost manned by 30 Marines and Lebanese Army troops east of Beirut International Airport came under fire from semiautomatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Marines return fire for the first time, with rifles and M-60 machine guns. No MNF casualties, after a 90-minute firefight.

Italian MNF

Over 500 artillery and mortar shells rained down on Italian positions during the night.

28 August 1983

US MNF

Heavy rocket, mortar, and artillery attacks on 24 MAU positions on the eastern side of Beirut International Airport resulted in two Marines killed and 14 Marines wounded. Marines retaliate for the first time with 155mm artillery.

29 August 1983

French MNF

At around 2 p.m. in an attack on a French patrol, 1 legionnaire from the 2nd REI was killed and 4 were wounded

The French Embassy in Beirut was hit by two 120mm rockets at around 5 pm, 3 French legionnaires from the 2nd REI and a French Gendarme were killed and 5 were injured.

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB patrol, including Lt Col Roberts’s rover group, come under direct fire, by small arms and RPG, there are no casualties. They then assist the French injured in the patrol attack. A patrol is sent back to the base to collect 2 soldiers with the correct blood type needed by the French. (WO305/5345)

UK POLITICAL

British FCO rules out any deployment of BRITFORLEB from its current location to positions in the Shouf mountains or along the coastal roads (PREM19-1074)

30 August 1983

US MNF

Marines retaliated with 155mm artillery after Moslem shelling of U.S. Embassy residence.

The US Department of Defense authorizes hostile-fire pay for Marines and sailors of the 24 MAU in Lebanon. Each of the 1,200 U.S. Marine peacekeepers serving in Lebanon is eligible for up to $65.00 a month of extra pay. The authorization was under a Pentagon regulation that did not trigger any War Powers Act provisions.

French MNF

A French soldier is killed in an artillery attack on the 31st. Brigade HQ.

Italian MNF

An Italian command post was also hit by mortar fire and five Italians are wounded.

31 August 1983

French MNF

DIODON 4, Roulement of French troops now under the command of BGen Francois Cann with troops from 11th Airborne Division.

September 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL / LAF

The Mountain War

Two rebel battalions supported by armor and heavy artillery attacked the Lebanese Army positions on the strategic Souq el Gharb ridge overlooking Beirut. Fighting began early in the morning and the Lebanese forces were soon hard-pressed. As their artillery ammunition ran low, the Lebanese government requested support from the Americans. Ammunition and other supplies air airlifted to the LAF by US Forces.

1 September 1983

IDF

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commenced the first part of a phased withdrawal plan codenamed Operation Millstone, by quickly pulling out its troops from their positions on the southern edge of Beirut and from a section of the Beirut-Aley-Damascus Highway, and within twenty-four hours Israeli units had completed its redeployment south of the Awali River line.

Surprised by this unexpected Israeli move, the largely unprepared Lebanese Armed Forces brigades then rushed south to occupy Khalde and the road adjacent to Beirut International Airport, but ran into difficulties near Aley, where heavy fighting between the Druze and LF militias persisted

UK MNF

BRIFORLEB takes control of the abandoned IDF position, known as the Alamo, across the road from the British base, in order to prevent the rebel factions from gaining control.

The SATCOM link is deployed and established

Italian MNF

Italian HQ was hit by artillery fire, lightly wounding one soldier

4 September 1983

UK POLITICAL

British FCO and MOD draw up contingency plans for the evacuation of BRITFORLEB and British nationals in light of the deteriorating situation in Beirut. (PREM19-1074)

5 September 1983

US MNF

A Rocket attack on Beirut International Airport from Druze positions in the Shouf mountains resulted in two Marines killed and two Marines wounded.

6 September 1983

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB troops in the Alamo (ex-IDF position) come under machinegun and sniper fire, with no casualties. (WO305/6481)

UK POLITICAL

British Embassy staff are reduced and relocated to Cyprus. (PREM19-1074)

French MNF

2 French sappers are killed by shelling in West Beirut

US MNF

US Navy F-14 tactical airborne reconnaissance missions were conducted for the first time.

7 September 1983

UK MNF

Force Commander (FC) sends BRITFORLEB patrol to the area above Beirut on a recce for future patrols to observe the conflict between LAF and Syrian Forces (WO305/6481)

Operation Pulsator: RAF deploys Buccaneer and Phantom jets and Chinook helicopters to Cyprus in direct support of BRITFORLEB.

AKROTIRI, CYPRUS – 1983: British military backup for British Forces on peace-keeping duties in Beirut, Lebanon are gathered on the Akrotiri RAF base in the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus, December 1983. The aircraft in this image are the Chinook (centre above) and Wessex helicopter (centre), a Blackburn Buccaneer carrier fighter (left) and an F4 Phantom fighter bomber (right). (Photo by Terry Fincher/The Fincher Files/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

US MNF

USS Bowen fired 5 shells from her 5-inch guns in the first American use of naval gunfire support, silencing a Druze militia battery that had shelled Beirut International Airport. Marines also responded with 6 x 155mm artillery fire.

French MNF

Super Etendards from the French Aircraft Carrier, Foch, carry out warning flights over Druze positions in response to continued attacks on its forces. It is reported that they may have attacked artillery positions but there is no official confirmation.

8 September 1983

UK MNF

OC A Sqn and a patrol are deployed, on Force Commander orders, to position recced on 8 Sep, hosted by LAF. No further patrols of this type were sanctioned by UK MOD. (WO305/6481)

Due to BIA closure, the first mission of MV Michael Murphy VC is successfully completed with much-needed stores for BRITFORLEB (WO305/6481)

US MNF

World War 2 era battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) was alerted for deployment to the Eastern Mediterranean.

New Jersey cruising off the coast of California alongside the destroyer Fletcher prior to her deployment to the Mediterranean

10 September 1983

UK MNF

Operation Pulsator Two pairs of RAF Blackburn Buccaneer jets from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus carry out low-level ‘flag flying’ missions over the British base in Beirut. Force Commander and RAF are in dispute as to the role and flight path of these missions. RAF sticks with the original plan. (AIR 23/8773)

11 September 1983

US MNF

31 MAU arrived off the coast of Lebanon and assumed a standby role.

12 September 1983

UK MNF

Operation Pulsator A pair of Buccaneer jets from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus carry out another low-level ‘flag flying’ mission over the British base in Beirut.

US MNF

Marines are given the authority to call for air support in case of artillery attacks from Lebanese rebel groups. Earlier in the day, President Reagan extended the Marines’ authority to defend themselves by allowing them to call for airstrikes against any units which threaten the safety of the multi-national force. Officials in Washington confirmed the local commander in Beirut no longer needed approval from them to call for air support.

As the defeat of the LAF appeared imminent,
the National Command Authorities (NCA) authorized the use of naval gunfire and tactical air strikes in support of the LAF
at Suq-Al-Gharb. Occupation of the dominant terrain in the vicinity of Suq-Al-Gharb by hostile forces would pose a danger
to USMNF positions at BIA. Direct support of the LAF in those circumstances was to be considered an act of self-defense authorized by the existing ROE.

LEBANON POLITICAL

President Gemayal requests the MNF contingents to extend their deployment.

13 September 1983

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Norwegian Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

UK MNF

Force Commander, Lt Col Roberts, PARA, departs Beirut and relinquishes command of BRITFORLEB (WO305/6481)

15 September 1983

US MNF

Following the shelling of the American Ambassador’s residence, USS Bowen and USS John Rodgers, fired a total of seventy-two rounds, silencing six identified firing positions. The ability to quickly and accurately target hostile artillery was because of the August deployment of the Army’s new AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder counter-battery radar. This critical system was operated by a thirty-three-man team that cataloged all large caliber fire around Beirut and kept the Navy and Marines informed of potential targets

UK MNF

Lt Col Ferguson, QDG, assumes command (Force Commander) of BRITFORLEB (WO305/6481)

16 September 1983

UK MNF

The new Force Commander of BRITFORLEB orders that guarding of the Alamo position ceases and the LAF moves in. (WO305/6481)

17 September 1983

US MNF

Shortly before noon, USS John Rodgers and USS Virginia moved within three kilometers of the shore and unleashed a withering bombardment on the anti-government positions eight kilometers inland. Five hours and three hundred and thirty-eight rounds later, the rebels withdrew. This enabled the Lebanese Army troops to retain hold of the strategic Shouf Mountains village of Suq al Gharb.

La bataille de Souk-El-Gharb Septembre 1983 au Liban. (Photo by Pierre PERRIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The American role shifted from “presence” to direct support of the Lebanese Armed Forces, in the perception of rebel factions.

USS VIRGINIA (CGN-38), off Beirut, 1983

19 September 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

US and Saudi mediators attempt to negotiate a ceasefire.

US MNF

Six Marine and Lebanese army observers went to the front line of fighting between the U.S.-backed Lebanese army and Druze Muslim militiamen near the village of Souk el Gharb. The observers relayed information to the Marines and to naval gunners as U.S. Navy ships bombarded Muslim positions.

US Navy F-14 aircraft were fired on by SA-7 missiles for the first time.

20 September 1983

US MNF

USS John Rodgers and USS Arthur W. Radford fired over ninety rounds at various rebel positions in response to another shelling of the Ambassador’s residence.

21 September 1983

French MNF

A French legionnaire’s outpost was bombarded, four are wounded. The French retaliate and the air force strikes artillery sites in the Upper Metn under Syrian control.

22 September 1983

US MNF

USS Arthur W. Radford and USS Virginia opened fire in response to a four-hour attack on Marines ashore. Marines also engage with 155mm artillery.

An M198 155 mm Howitzer protects a US Marine Corps encampment near Beirut.

French MNF

The Nathalie post, located very close to the Residence, was targeted by shells. Four Legioniares are injured. France retaliated again by bombarding Syrian batteries used by the Druze near Saoufar, in the caza of Aley.

Camouflage d’un char AMX-13 avec un canon 155 mm F3 du 12e RA (régiment d’artillerie) installée à Sin El Fil, en périphérie est de Beyrouth.

Italian MNF

The main Italcon ammunition depot is hit by artillery fire.

23 September 1983

US MNF

USS New Jersey arrives off the Lebanese coast.

24 September 1983

US MNF

Fighting flared between the Lebanese Army and Druze militiamen around U.S. Marine positions at Beirut airport. Three Marines were wounded, two by shelling and one by sniper fire.

25 September 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

A ceasefire is in effect at 06:00 AM. Announced by Saudi Arabian and Syrian officials in Damascus, supported by Druze. Talks begin on the formation of a new coalition government for Lebanon.

The agreement worked out by Saudi and American mediators calls for:

* An immediate cease-fire throughout all Lebanese territory “on all axes and points of contact,” supervised by “neutral observers;” in addition, facilitation of the return of refugees forced to flee their homes since the 1975-76 civil war as well as of arrangements for relief operations.

* A committee to establish arrangements for the cease-fire and its consolidation, made up of the Army, the Phalangist Lebanese Front, the opposition National Salvation Front and the Shiite Amal movement.

* “An urgent and comprehensive meeting” to begin a national dialogue consisting of the three leaders of the National Salvation Front–former president Suleiman Franjieh, former prime minister Rashid Karame and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt; the heads of the Phalangist-led Lebanese Front–Camille Chamoun and Pierre Gemayel, who is the father of the president; Shiite leader Nabih Berri and three independent political figures: Sunni Moslem leader Saeb Salam, Adel Osseirane and Maronite Catholic leader Raymond Edde.

* Attendance at the meeting of delegations from Saudi Arabia and Syria.

The statement did not indicate who would represent the Lebanese government at the meeting but said it would include members from the legislative and executive branches.

26 September 1983

US MNF

Two Marine aviators were injured when their AH-1T Cobra helicopter crashed into the sea. The USS Tarawa-based Cobra went down during a routine training mission.

27 September 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

The cease-fire is to be overseen by an armistice commission composed of the three warring militias: the Druze Progressive Socialist Party of Jumblatt, Berri’s Amal Shiites and the Christian Phalangists sitting together with the Lebanese Army.

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB provides security at the first meeting of the Lebanese Security and Ceasefire Council. This was held in a disused bank a short distance from the British base. This role would continue until 16 January 1984. (WO305/6481)

A BRITFORLEB patrol is held for a number of hours by the Amal Militia, they are eventually released less some equipment. (WO305/6481)

28 September 1983

The 1st. Anniversary of the deployment of the MNF.

In the first year, the MNF suffered 26 fatalities. 17 French, 8 Americans and 1 Italian.

There were also 16 Americans fatalities in the US Embassy bombing.

There were, in addition, 12 UNIFIL and 4 UNTSO fatalities.

29 September 1983

UK MNF

A Squadron, QDG tour reduced to 4 months, leaving in early December. A Squadron, 16th/5th Queen’s Royal Lancers (16/5L), commanded by Major Robert Faulkner, is tasked to relieve QDG. (DEFE 70/3273)

30 September 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

The situation in Lebanon has changed to the extent that not one of the initial conditions upon which the MNF mission statement was premised was still valid. The environment is clearly hostile. The assurances the Government of Lebanon had obtained from the various factions were obviously no longer operative as attacks on the MNF came primarily from extralegal militias, and the environment could no longer be characterized as peaceful.

End of September 1983

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Royal Netherlands Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

US MNF

Two Marine helicopters are hit by ground fire.

5 October 1983

US MNF

Two Marines are wounded by sniper fire.

8 October 1983

US MNF

A Marine is wounded by grenade fragments.

13 October 1983

US MNF

One Marine is killed and three wounded by sniper fire. Marine sharpshooters respond, setting off a three-hour fire-fight.

14 October 1983

US MNF

Marine sharpshooters kill four snipers.

15 October 1983

US MNF

In the late afternoon and into the evening, small arms and RPGs hit Alpha Company’s position in the library building at the Lebanese Science University. One Marine is killed and five are wounded.

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB send the assistance of their armored Ferret Scout cars, which escorted a convoy with the two seriously wounded Marines to the Lebanese MOD. From there a helicopter medevac took the wounded to USS Iwo Jima. The medevac chopper was fired on en route but was not hit. (WO305/6269)

16 October 1983

US MNF

Four Marines are wounded as an attempt to ambush a Marine convoy with a car bomb was thwarted.

19 October 1983

US MNF

Sunday, 06:22 am, a suicide truck loaded with the equivalent of 12,000 pounds of explosives destroys the headquarters building of USMC BLT 1/8 at Beirut International Airport. 239 are killed and 2 died of their wounds on 2 Dec and 5 Dec.

The explosion killed 220 US Marine, 18 US Navy and 3 US Army personnel.

French MNF

Sunday, 06:29 am, a suicide truck destroys the Drakkar Building in West Beirut, the headquarters building of French, 3rd Company, 1er RCP.

58 are killed.

Parachutist Yves Verdier, from the 6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (RPIMA), takes part in the rescue operations. Suddenly, he sees a hand coming out of the rubble. He grabs it. This is that of para Eric Mohamed, one of the 15 survivors of the Drakkar

23 October 1983

French MNF

French President François Mitterrand visits what remained of the eight-story ‘Drakkar’ building, which had been used as the French military’s headquarters in Beirut, after it was hit by a terrorist suicide truck bomb the day before, killing 58 paratroopers and injuring 15. The French military was in Lebanon as part of the Multinational Peacekeeping force. The Islamic Jihad, later to become Hezbollah, a militant organisation claimed responsibility for the attack that coincided with the bombing of the American Marine headquarters at Beirut’s International Airport.. (Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images)

24 October 1983

UK MNF

After 2 days of assisting the USMC with the recovery operation at the BLT building, BRITFORLEB reverts to normal patrolling. (WO305/6269)

General Kitson, UK CinC UKLF, visits BRITFORLEB as part of a security review. The RAF Chinook in which he is traveling is forced to divert to BIA after the original landing ground comes under mortar and small arms fire. (WO305/6269)

General Kitson, Lt Col Ferguson and Maj Boissard on the roof of BritForLeb

25 October 1983

US MNF

As US Vice President Bush visited Beirut, Marine positions took 15 mortar rounds over a two-hour period. 

26 October 1983

US MNF

The Secretary of Defense approved the assignment of an additional Marine rifle company to the USMNF. That augmenting force was airlifted into Lebanon and deployed at BIA by the end of October

28 October 1983

UK MNF

A direct threat to BRITFORLEB was made by a group that called itself: “The Boiled Blood of Sabra and Chatila”. Roadblocks are put in place on the road past the base. The construction of a bypass road is started along with other engineering work on the base to make it more resistant to suicide bomb attacks. (PREM1076)

1 November 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

A suicide bomber drove a pickup truck filled with explosives into a Shin Bet building at an IDF base in Tyre. The explosion killed 28 Israelis and 32 Lebanese prisoners and wounded about 40 others. The attack was carried out by the Shia Lebanese organization Hezbollah.

4 November 1983

US MNF

Brigadier General Jim R. Joy, USMC, arrives in Beirut to assume overall command of Marine operations in Lebanon.

7 November 1983

US MNF

A Company, 1/8 Marines, located at the Lebanese Scientific and Technical University was withdrawn to BIA and subsequently redeployed aboard ship as the USMNF ready reserve.

8 November 1983

French MNF

Operation Brochet. Eight Super-Etendards of the French Navy took off from the aircraft carrier Clemenceau and carried out a raid on Sheikh Abdullah barracks, a position of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah in the Bekaa plain. The French planes drop 34 bombs of 250 kg and 400 kg on the position.

17 November 1983

French MNF

A French Paratrooper is killed.

UK MNF

The bypass road around the base in Hadath is completed. (WO305/5529)

18 November 1983

US MNF

24 MAU is relieved by the 22 MAU, commanded by BGen Jim R. Joy, which had participated in the 25 October to 2 November Grenada intervention en route to the Mediterranean.

19 November 1983

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

In early November the IAF initiates a series of air strikes on Syrian positions in the Bekaa Valley. A Mirage is shot down over Beirut and the pilot is rescued by LAF

20 November 1983

UK MNF

HMS Glamorgan arrives off the Beirut coast, overnight dormitory plan is initiated. (DEFE70/1246)

22 November 1983

UN INTERVENTION

UN Security Council Resolution 542

The Council demanded a ceasefire from all parties concerned and paid tribute to various humanitarian organisations for their efforts. It also requested the Secretary-General to continue to monitor the situation.

23 November 1983

UK MNF

HMS Fearless arrives off the Beirut coast (DEFE70/1246)

28 November 1984

French MNF

All 3 members of a French helicopter crew from the frigate Dupleix (D641), are killed when it crashes off the coast of Beirut

29 November 1983

French MNF

A French Paratrooper is killed

1 December 1983

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB base hit by RPGs, and several hundred machine gun rounds, one minor casualty. (PREM19-1076)

In the first test of de-risking exercise, 50 men are moved aboard HMS Glamorgan overnight. (DEFE70/1246)

3 December 1983

US MNF

The aircraft carriers USS Independence and USS John F Kennedy launch a 29-plane raid against Syrian antiaircraft positions in the mountains east of Beirut, in retaliation for the Syrian fire directed at American aerial reconnaissance missions. Two aircraft are shot down, one pilot is killed and his bombardier navigator is captured by the Syrian Army. The crew of the second aircraft are rescued off the coast of Lebanon

Later in the day, Marines at Beirut International Airport come under heavy fire from gun positions in Syrian-held territory. Marine casualties: eight killed, two wounded. In addition to the response from Marine mortars and howitzers ashore, the Navy responded with 5” gunfire from unspecified ships.

4 December 1983

French MNF

A car bomb exploded 500 meters from the Résidence des pins (French HQ), killing 14 and injuring 93.

5 December 1983

UK MNF

A Squadron, 16th/5th Queen’s Royal Lancers (16/5L) replace A Squadron QDG, Lt Col Ferguson, QDG remains Force Commander (DEFE70/1246)

8 December 1983

French MNF

A French Paratrooper is killed in Saeb Salam Avenue in the center of Beirut

US MNF

One Marine is injured by grenade fragments. Reconnaissance flights were again fired upon from air defense sites some fourteen kilometers inland. This time the Navy responded with a fifty-round, fifteen-minute bombardment by USS Ticonderoga and the USS Tattnall.

13 December 1983

French MNF

A French soldier is killed when a 122 mm GRAD rocket falls near an observation post.

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB base hit by shells, no casualties.

As part of a de-risking exercise, 50 men are moved overnight aboard HMS Fearless.(DEFE70/1246)

14 December 1983

US MNF

Marines came under fire from mortars and 23mm cannons. From her station just three kilometers offshore, USS New Jersey responded to the attack with a twenty-minute barrage of forty 5″ rounds. The 16″ guns were not used as the targets were just four to six kilometers inland and close to populated areas.

French MNF

A French Paratrooper was machine-gunned in the back while he took out the trash.

At the Residence des Pins, soldiers render the honors during the lifting of the bodies of three soldiers killed in Beirut: one was mortally wounded on December 13 in Saeb Salam Avenue in the center of Beirut, Staff Sergeant Genetel of the 12th RA (artillery regiment) was killed on December 14 by an artillery shell at 11:30 p.m. while he was on an observation mission, the third, a paratrooper, was machine-gunned in the back while he took out the trash.

15 December 1983

US MNF

USS New Jersey fires 11 shells from its 16-inch guns on antiaircraft positions in the Syrian-occupied mountains southeast of Beirut, as the Syrians continue to fire at U.S. reconnaissance flights over the area. USS Tattnall and Ticonderoga fire 60 x 5-inch shells. This was the USS New Jersey’s first action off Lebanon.

16 December 1983

US MNF

USS Tattnall and USS Ticonderoga fired 60 x 5-inch shells when a reconnaissance flight was fired on once again.

18 December 1983

LEBANON POLITICAL

The French Navy protects the evacuation of 4,700 Palestinian fighters from Tripoli, including Yasser Arafat, thus ending the Battle of Tripoli that had begun in early November. This marked the end of PLO activity and influence in Lebanon.

20 December 1983

French MNF

A truck bomb attempts to force entry to the French headquarters of the 3rd RPIMa in Beirut, Lebanon. The truck is stopped by the earthen walls but the 1,200 kilos of explosive kill a paratrooper and thirteen civilians. There are also more than 100 wounded, including 24 French.

21 December 1983

Italian MNF

The fighting over Christmas constituted the ‘three hardest days’ for Italcon who were shocked about the unannounced French retreat from the Sabra camp. The LAF readily entered the void and clashed with Shiite factions. The Italian checkpoints now lay highly exposed and in close vicinity to bitterly contested areas. 70 people were killed and 350 wounded in Chatila over Christmas. Seven Italians were lightly wounded.

23-26 December

UK MNF

An explosion in the dock area slightly injures two members of BRITFORLEB (PREM19-1077)

27 December 1983

1984

All MNF are withdrawn by April

1984

French MNF

A French Paratrooper is killed

1 January 1984

UK MNF

Lt Col Woolley PWO assumes command BRITFORLEB (DEFE70/1246)

US MNF

Lt. Robert Goodman Jr., a US Navy bombardier navigator captured by Syrian Forces on 4 Dec 1983, is released.

LEBANON / FRANCE POLITICAL

Embassy of France in Lebanon, Driver Raymond Henri Vauthier, 42, was mortally wounded at the wheel of his car during an attack on the French Consul. He died of his wounds on 19 January 1984.

3 January 1984

US MNF

A Marine is killed by unidentified assailants as he exits a helicopter at a landing zone on the edge of downtown Beirut. The helicopter flew to safety, after returning fire with its machine guns.

8 January 1984

French MNF

A French Paratrooper is killed by an RPG strike on his observation post.

9 January 1984

UK MNF

RFA Reliant replaces HMS Fearless off Beirut

11 January 1984

US MNF

Marines at Beirut International Airport fought a 30-minute battle with gunmen firing from a building east of their perimeter.

13 January 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Maj Saad Haddad, leader of the Israeli-sponsored militia in Southern Lebanon dies.

14 January 1984

US MNF

Marines came under a three-hour bombardment that began with 23mm cannon fire and included a 122mm rocket setting a fuel depot on fire. Naval gunfire was called for and USS New Jersey and USS Tattnall respond with one hundred and twenty 5″ rounds.

15 January 1984

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB provides security at the final meeting of the Lebanese Security and Ceasefire Council. (DEFE70/1246)

16 January 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Malcolm Kerr, a Lebanese-born American who was president of the American University of Beirut, was killed by two gunmen outside his office. Hezbollah said the assassination was part of the organization’s plan to “drive all Americans out from Lebanon.”

18 January 1984

UNIFIL

A soldier of the Senegalese Army, attached to UNIFIL is killed.

21 January 1984

French MNF

A French Paratrooper is killed

27 January 1984

US MNF

The position known to the Marines as “Bedrock” came under heavy fire, in one of the fiercest firefights to date. The fighting would last for hours but as the firefight subdued a lone sniper’s bullet struck and killed a Marine, in the same action another Marine was seriously injured and died of his wounds on 7 Feb 1984

30 January 1984

French MNF

DIODON 5, Roulement of French troops now under the command of BGen Michel Datin with troops from the 9th Marine Infantry Division

February 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Heavy fighting erupted in the suburbs of Beirut, between the Lebanese Army and Shiite militiamen.

2 February 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Shiite leadership called for the resignation of Moslem cabinet members and urges Moslems in the Lebanese Army to disregard the orders of their leaders.

3 February 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Prime Minister Shafiq Wazzan and the Lebanese cabinet resign, to clear the way for the formation of a new coalition government.

5 February 1984

French MNF

A French Marine is killed

LEBANON POLITICAL

An uprising by leftist movements and Afwaj Al-Muqawama al-Lubnaniya (AMAL) took place in West Beirut against the signing of a peace accord with Israel, and seized control of West Beirut.

Druze and Moslem militiamen seized much of Beirut in street fighting and demanded the resignation of President Gemayel.

6 February 1984

US MNF

President Reagan announces the decision to redeploy Marines from Beirut International Airport to ships offshore, leaving a residual force behind to protect the U.S. Embassy and other American interests. Increased reliance on air strikes and naval gunfire support are indicated.

7 February 1984

UK MNF

BRITFORLEB withdraws to RFA Reliant, leaving the Hadath Base and stores to the Lebanese Army by prior agreement. All vehicles and soldiers are evacuated without casualties. (DEFE70/1246)

During their 12-month deployment, they suffered no serious casualties

US MNF

A US Marine officer was killed.

USS New Jersey bombarded Druze and Syrian gun positions as part of the heaviest naval gunfire support since the arrival of the Marines in 1982. Thirty rounds hit a Syrian command post, killing the general commanding Syrian forces in Lebanon, and several of his senior officers. USS Caron 300 x 5-inch, USS New Jersey 288 x 16-inch and 300x 5”

8 February 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

The US and UK began a voluntary evacuation of their citizens from Lebanon. In the operation, forced by what officials called the deteriorating and unsettled situation in Lebanon, American and British helicopters airlifted hundreds of their citizens and other foreign nationals to military ships waiting offshore. From there, they were ferried to Cyprus.

10/11 February 1984

Italian MNF

Sixteen Italian soldiers are wounded in the last ten days before the withdrawal

The Italian contingent of the MNF completes its withdrawal from Lebanon.

During their 19-month deployment, they suffered 1 killed and 75 wounded.

20 February 1984

US MNF

Marines began their redeployment to ships of the Sixth Fleet offshore.

21 February 1984

French MNF

The Lebanese Army begins an artillery duel at around 7 p.m. against the militias, the observation post held by the French at the crossroads of Tayouneh is hit, killing one French Marine and wounding another

22 February 1984

US MNF

A US Sailor dies in an accident aboard USS Guam.

USS Guam (LPH-9) off Lebanon

23 February 1984

US MNF

USS Caron fires 70 x 5-inch shells as the district containing the Ambassador’s residence was again shelled,

25 February 1984

French MNF

A French Soldier is killed

US MNF

The last Marines assigned to the multinational force are pulled out of Beirut, but the embassy guards and some small detachments remain. An hour after the last boat departed, a reconnaissance flight came under fire and USS Caron and USS New Jersey responded with sixteen 16” shells and fifty 5” shells.

Redeployment of the 22 MAU to offshore ships completed.

During their 19-month deployment, they suffered 266 killed and 195 wounded.

Elements of 2/8 Marines and 22 MAU remained in Beirut to provide the External Security Force at the U.S. Embassy until their withdrawal on 31 July 1984.

26 February 1984

US MNF

The final use of naval gunfire in Lebanon, was when a team of forward observers stationed in Beirut came under artillery fire and USS W S Sims responded with three 5” shells. The US naval force would not be withdrawn from Lebanese waters until 10 April 1984.

29 February 1984

French MNF

A French Marine is killed

LEBANON POLITICAL

The Lebanese Government cancels the 17 May Agreement.

5 March 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Hezbollah members kidnapped Jeremy Levin, Beirut bureau chief of Cable News Network (CNN). Levin managed to escape, 11 months later and reached a Syrian army barracks. He was later transferred into American hands.

7 March 1984

US MNF

A Marine from the MNF dies in an accident in Isreal

9 March 1984

US MNF

A Marine was wounded in Beirut, as negotiations between Lebanon’s Muslim and Christian leaders took place for a cease-fire. The off-duty Marine was shot in the back, apparently by a sniper.

14 March 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Hezbollah kidnaps CIA’s Beirut station chief, William Francis Buckley. Buckley is believed to have died in captivity around June 3, 1985.

16 March 1983

UK MNF

RAF elements of Operation Pulsator stood down and return from Cyprus to the UK. (DEFE70/1246)

26 March 1984

UK POLITICAL

FCO formally notifies Lebanon and other MNF contributing nations that it is withdrawing from further activity in the MNF (FCO46/4243)

LEBANON POLITICAL

The President of Lebanon officially ends the mission of the Multi-National Force (FC046/4243)

In the period August 1982 to March 1984 the MNF suffered 360 killed and 377 wounded

In the same period, UNTSO suffered 4 killed and UNIFIL suffered 19 killed

27 March 1984

French DETOBS

Forces internationales et de coopération, Casques blancs, Detachment of Observers (DETOBS), deployed into Beirut until 3 April 1986, initially 40 strong growing to 80, they suffered 8 casualties.

29 March 1984

French MNF

The last French MNF contingent withdraws from Beirut.

During their 20-month deployment, they suffered 93 killed and 105 wounded

31 March 1984

UK MNF

After spending 7 weeks afloat on RFA Reliance, off Beirut, and on standby in Cyprus, A Sqn 16/5 L returns to the UK

1 April 1984

French DETOBS

Chief Warrant Officer Jules Fernand Charles GOMBERT, 215 Mobile Gendarmerie Squadron was killed by sniper fire during the Detobs mission (French Observer Mission post-MNF) near the Clémenceau chancellery, West Beirut

26 April 1984

US MNF

1,800 Marines of the 22 MAU returned home after a 195-day overseas tour. The mission involved more combat than any U.S. unit has seen since the Vietnam War. Originally deployed to take up peacekeeping duties in Lebanon, the Marines were diverted to Grenada in October 1983. After the Caribbean island was secured, the unit continued to Beirut, Lebanon, 

1 May 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

Presbyterian minister Reverend Benjamin Weir was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon, while out walking with his wife, Carol. Members of Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group in Lebanon, held Weir for sixteen months, twelve of them in solitary confinement along with six other Americans who were released later, including journalist Terry Anderson. 

8 May 1984

US MNF

The last Marine Corps combat troops from the MNF in Beirut, pulled out to U.S. Navy ships offshore, marking the end of the 22-month U.S. Military presence in Lebanon. The departure of the last 90 Marines was part of the preparations to move most of the embassy’s functions from its barricaded seafront compound in West Beirut to the relative safety of East Beirut. About a dozen Marines remained in Beirut to guard the new embassy.

31 July 1984

LEBANON POLITICAL

While on a reporting assignment for Reuters in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Jonathan Wright was detained and held hostage by the Palestinian splinter group led by Abu Nidal in a part of the Lebanon hostage crisis. The group wanted to exchange him for members imprisoned in Britain for shooting the Israeli ambassador, Shlomo Argov, in London in June 1982.  He was released in Beirut on 19 September 1984.

29 August 1984

US Embassy, Beirut

A van driven by a suicide terrorist, careening past concrete barricades and heavy gunfire, exploded in front of the U.S. Embassy Annex in East Beirut, Lebanon, killing 23 people, of which 2 were US military. Many more were injured including U.S. Ambassador Reginald Bartholomew and four Marine security guards. The British Ambassador David Miers and 5 members of his RMP Close Protection Team were also injured in the attack. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Petty Officer First Class Michael Ray Wagner, US Navy.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Kenneth Vernon Welch, USMC

20 September 1984

ISRAELI INTERVENTION

Israel completes its withdrawal to the newly created security zone in Southern Lebanon where they would remain until May 2000

The IDF’s total casualties in the First Lebanon War from June 1982 to June 1985 were 654 killed and 3,887 wounded

June 1985

LEBANON POLITICAL

Trans World Airlines Flight 847 

Flight 847 was hijacked shortly after take-off from Athens. The hijackers demanded the release of 700 Shia Muslims from Israeli custody and took the plane repeatedly to Beirut and Algiers.

The passengers and crew endured a three-day intercontinental ordeal. Some passengers were threatened and some were beaten. Passengers with Jewish-sounding names were separated from the others. United States Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered, and his body was thrown onto the apron. Dozens of passengers were held hostage over the next two weeks until released by their captors after some of their demands were met.

John Testrake with a hijacker in Beirut

Steelworker Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Dean, Stethem Jr.

14 June 1985

LEBANON POLITICAL

A National Reconciliation is formed under the leadership of Omar Karami. The Taif Agreement is for the first time being put into practice.

The Lebanese Civil War Ends. In the 15 years of fighting it is estimated that around 150,000 people were killed, and another 100,000 permanently disabled by injuries.

Approximately 900,000 people, representing one-fifth of the pre-war population, were displaced from their homes. Perhaps a quarter of a million emigrated permanently.

24 December 1990

Sources

  • PREM
  • UK National Archives
  • DEFE
    • 70/3273: Combat development: Operation Hyperion; Royal Armoured Corps reconnaissance squadron Lebanon, 1982 Dec 21 – 1984 Apr 2
    • 70/1246: Middle East: Lebanon; lessons learnt from British Forces Lebanon and the protection of the British Embassy, 1984 July 26 – 1984 Dec 20
    •  WO
      • 305: Commander’s Diary: Headquarters British Forces Lebanon; Operation Hyperion (British military deployment to the multi-national peacekeeping force in Lebanon)
        • /6193: 1983 Apr 01 – 1983 Apr 30
        • /6194: 1983 May 01 – 1983 May 31
        • /6231: 1983 Jun 01 – 1983 Jun 30
        • /6232: 1983 Jul 01 – 1983 Jul 31
        • /5345: 1983 Aug 01 – 1983 Aug 31
        • /6481: 1983 Sep 01 – 1993 Oct 19
        • /6269: 1983 Oct 01 – 1983 Oct 31
        • /5529: 1983 Nov 01 – 1983 Nov 30
    • FCO
      • 46/4242, Operation Hyperion: British military deployment with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon, 1984 Jan 01 – 1984 Dec 31
      • 46/4243, Operation Hyperion: British military deployment with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon, 1984 Feb 08- 1984 Sep.
    • AIR
      • 23/8772: Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF): Operation Hyperion, 1983 Jan 05 – 1983 Sep 01
      • 23/8773: Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF): Operation Hyperion, 1983 Aug 30 – 1983 Nov 14
  • Journal of the Pen & Sword Club, March 2018
    • Page 8, Blackburn Buccaneers Buzz Beirut
    • Page 12: A Forgotten Intervention: BRITFORLEB
  • http://www.naval8-208-association.com/NewsArticlesOpPULSATOR01.html
  • https://defenceindepth.co/2017/09/04/a-forgotten-intervention-operation-hyperion-and-british-peacekeepers-in-lebanon-1982-1984/
  • Bastian Matteo Scianna (2019) A Blueprint for Successful Peacekeeping? The Italians in Beirut (Lebanon), 1982–1984, The International History Review, 41:3, 650-672, DOI: 10.1080/07075332.2018.1431804, https://doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2018.1431804
  • UNISCI Discussion Papers, Nº 25 (January / Enero 2011) ISSN 1696-2206, SHAPING NATIONAL ROLE ABROAD: ITALIAN MILITARY MISSIONS SINCE THE EIGHTIES, Gianluca Pastori, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart